Medical Apartheid

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Medical Apartheid
Medical Apartheid (book cover).jpg
Paperback edition cover
AuthorHarriet A. Washington
CountryUnited States
Subjectmedical experimentation
Publication date
9 January 2007
Media typePrint, e-book
Pages512 pp.

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present is a 2007 book by Harriet A. Washington. It is a history of medical experimentation on African Americans. From the era of slavery to the present day, this book presents the first full account of black America's mistreatment as unwitting subjects of medical experimentation.[1][2]


Medical Apartheid traces the convoluted history of medical experimentation on Black Americans in the United States since the middle of the eighteenth century. Harriet Washington argues that "diverse forms of racial discrimination have shaped both the relationship between white physicians and black patients and the attitude of the latter towards modern medicine in general".[3]

The book is divided into three parts: the first is about the cultural memory of medical experimentation; the second examines recent cases of medical abuse and research; while the last addresses the complex relationship between racism and medicine. Some topics discussed are well-known, such as the ‘Tuskegee Syphilis Study’ (1932–72), in which African Americans suffering from the disease were prevented from receiving the necessary medication by the US Public Health Service so that the evolution of the disease could be observed, but other episodes are less well known to the general public.[3] The book also mentions cases of Medical Experimentation in Africa and their links to African-American cases.


Medical Apartheid won the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. Harriet Washington has been a fellow in ethics at the Harvard Medical School, a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University.[4]

See also[edit]